Set on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula
is the scenic Ytri-Tunga
, a golden sand beach famous for its very accessible seal colony. A 2-hour drive north from Reykjavik via Iceland's famed Ring Road will get you to the beach, where you're nearly guaranteed to catch a glimpse of the seals. At least a few individual seals can be seen all year long, although the best time to view the harbor seals is in the summer.
Seals were an important aspect of early Icelanders' survival, as the people of Iceland relied heavily on the animal for food, oil, and waterproof hides. However, seals also served another purpose by appearing in much of the country's folklore as mysterious selkies (a mythological being). Although other Nordic countries consider selkies to be evil, Iceland doesn't.
More recently, seals have been killed for fashion purposes, but modern Icelanders regard the animal as an important part of the island's natural history and culture. Thus, they are viewed more as a beneficial ecological aspect rather than a pelt.
Do as the locals and enjoy watching these curious creatures as they sit on the rocks, arch their backs in the sun, and swim in the sea, all against the picturesque backdrop of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.
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